Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Second Advisor

Kathryn Arehart

Third Advisor

Eliana Colunga

Abstract

Differences in language input in Cantonese-English bilingual preschool children with a language impairment are compared to typically developing bilingual preschool peers. A total of 50 participants were examined in the first study who were primarily exposed to Cantonese (L1) from birth and started to learn English (L2) in preschool. Twenty-five participants were bilingual with a language impairment (LI) and another twenty-five were typically developing (TD) bilingual peers. Parent questionnaires were used to collect data from caregivers for all participants about language input across family members and activities. Results indicate that, both groups used Cantonese the most. However, families from the TD group had a higher overall use of Cantonese, whereas some families of the LI group incorporated more English at home. The second study used LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis) recording devices, recording one child with LI and another TD child. The findings of study one and two indicate that there are differences in L1 and L2 use among children with LI, TD children and their caregivers. These differences in language input are preliminary findings in a field of study that would benefit from more research. The clinical implications of this study are that some parents might be confused with the language (L1 or L2) they should use at home. Family programs are desperately needed for parents of children with language impairment. Parents of children with an LI should also be proactively provided with information about strategies to create a linguistic environment full of opportunity for discourse and language development.

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